Opioid treatment

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) subsidises medicines for patients who require short or long-term opioid treatment.

Patient eligibility

The PBS subsidises treatment for the management of severe pain with opioids. This is under the National Health Act 1953.

Patients must be eligible for the PBS and meet the relevant restriction criteria.

The Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits on the PBS website outlines the restrictions for prescribing opioid medications. Opioid items are listed separately on both the section 85 General Schedule and the Palliative Care Schedule. Restrictions can differ across listings.

Applications for increased quantities or repeats that are submitted in writing must state whether the request is for an item listed on the general schedule or the palliative care schedule. If the application is submitted with an authority application form, the correct form must be used according to the schedule on which the prescribed item is listed.

Authority applications

Applying for up to one month's treatment

Applications for authority approval to prescribe quantities and repeats sufficient for up to one month's treatment can be made either:

Applying for up to 3 month's treatment

Applications for authority approval to prescribe increased quantities and repeats sufficient for up to 3 months can be made either:

Telephone authority requests for treatment beyond one month will not be approved.

All applications must include sufficient information to determine patient eligibility according to the restriction criteria. This information can be provided either on the authority prescription form or forms, or by completing the relevant authority application form.

When choosing to use the PBS Authority Application Forms:

Further information

Call the PBS authority approvals line for further information.

Page last updated: 1 June 2021